Interviewee: Jan Verhaeghe Interviewer: Ashley Sedlak Date: December 5, 2010
Jan Verhaeghe was born in Anderson, South Carolina, in 1938. She moved to Asheville, NC in 1980, when she and her husband started a business. She became interested in midwifery and became a registered nurse with the intention of working as a nurse-midwife. She received her first education in nursing from AB Tech and eventually obtained a masterâs in nursing from Case Western Reserve University; she also has a B.A. in English from Clemson University and a masterâs in education from the University of South Carolina. She was certified as a nurse-midwife in 1994 and founded New Dawn Midwifery, her current practice, in 1997.
In the interview, Verhaeghe discusses her education and explains her interest in midwifery. She talks about the legal status of midwives and the impact of the 1983 North Carolina Nursing Practice Session laws on their work. Verhaeghe describes the culture surrounding the home birth movement when she first became involved in it, and talks about the first time she delivered a baby. She discusses the rising number of births attended by New Dawn Midwifery and reflects on the evolution of childbirth practices in hospitals as well.
Verhaeghe also goes into some of the details of her work. She talks about clientsâ reasons for choosing a midwife instead of a hospital birth and describes the interviews she conducts to ascertain that clients are truly prepared for a home birth. She discusses the process of arranging âmedical backupâ for home births and her practiceâs involvement with doctors and its relationship with a local hospital. Verhaeghe discusses the political atmosphere surrounding midwifery and speculates on its future; she also discusses her own plans for her work.